This is the other work created as a response to the collection of Indian artefacts at the Clive Museum at Powis Castle, Welshpool. It was originally intended that both would be shown together as part of the exhibition at the castle. However sensitivities about the depiction of a member of the Royal family by the National Trust and by Shrewsbury College have meant that it is considered unsuitable for display there.
It will be displayed at Shrewsbury College until 24th November before moving to the VAN Gallery in Shrewsbury Market Hall for 2 weeks.
The work is a version of the famous ‘Tipu’s Tiger’, a 250 year old Indian automaton looted from the palace of Tipu, Sultan of Mysore in 1799 by the army of the British East India Company. It is now on display at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.
Tipu, and his father before him, put up fierce resistance to British colonial expansion in India for over 30 years before he was killed in the siege of the city of Seringapatam. Tipu was known as the ‘Tiger of Mysore’ because of his warrior-like qualities and he had his palace, his army and weapons decorated with tiger motifs.
The original automaton is of carved and painted wood and shows a tiger on the chest of a British Redcoat soldier. By turning a handle the tiger can be made to roar and the soldier waves a hand. My version updates the original by substituting Queen Victoria for the anonymous soldier as a mischievous symbolic act of revenge on behalf of Tipu for the fall of his kingdom.
The automaton is made of wood and paper mache, and uses a microprocessor to control seven electric motors to create movements and an mp3 player to enable the tiger to roar.